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ERCOT expects to have adequate resources to meet fall, winter peak demand

From the September 5, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published September 5, 2014

By Paul Ciampoli
News Director

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects to have sufficient electricity available to meet peak demand this fall and winter.

ERCOT on Sept. 2 issued its final seasonal assessment of resource adequacy for the fall and a preliminary outlook for the winter.

"We are going into fall with about 2,100 MW of new generation resources in the system that we didn’t have this time last year, and we expect that there will be sufficient generation available to serve a range of possible scenarios," said Ken McIntyre, vice president of grid planning and operations for ERCOT, in a press release.

ERCOT noted that its fall assessment is based on a weather forecast that is consistent with average weather patterns. Planning scenarios include combinations of extremely high demand and forced outages at power plants. ERCOT has an anticipated peak demand of about 48,700 MW this fall, but nearly 75,500 MW of generation is available overall.

The grid operator noted that generation providers typically schedule maintenance outages during fall and spring to prepare for more extreme weather — and the corresponding higher demand for power — that occurs during winter and summer. According to ERCOT, it is typical for more than 9,000 MW to be offline for maintenance during fall and unplanned power plant outages could range from the typical 3,400 MW to nearly 7,000 MW.
Taking these factors into account, ERCOT expects reserves to range from about 2,600 MW, if peak demand is significantly higher than expected, to more than 14,000 MW under expected conditions.

Meanwhile, ERCOT’s preliminary winter seasonal assessment of resource adequacy predicts sufficient generation, except potentially under the most severe demand and outage scenarios.
ERCOT said that at 57,256 MW, peak demand in winter 2014 neared the winter record of 57,265 MW set in February 2011, and peak demand due to cold weather in early March was about 11,500 MW higher than the previous March record set in 2002.

The final winter seasonal assessment of resource adequacy, which is currently scheduled for release Oct. 31, will reflect a more near-term weather forecast and any necessary updates associated with the factors identified in the preliminary report, ERCOT noted.



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